Lobbying by fund managers and advertising agencies has forced Viacom
Outdoor, the company responsible for London Underground poster ads, into
introducing a new policy banning similar ads being placed next to each
The new system of “category alternation” means companies in all sectors,
not just financial services, will never again face the problem of ads
placed alongside competitors, making it hard for the public to
differentiate between firms.
The issue of advertising clutter was brought to Viacom's attention after
this year's Isa season by Ptarmigan Media, which buys ad space for leading
fund managers, including Gartmore and Jupiter.
Dramatic increases in advertising spend caused specific problems on the
Underground because of the limited number of poster sites.
Ptarmigan has reacted with caution, saying it has been looking at
alternative forms of advertising for the next Isa season but it will listen
to what Viacom has to say.
Ptarmigan managing director David Wiggin says: “We told them they would
need to put their house in order but we will give them a chance and will
not rule out Underground advertising completely. Our planning is underway
for the first quarter of next year. Looking at the stockmarket and general
market conditions, I would think that people will be cutting back from last
Gartmore head of product marketing David Piper says: “We welcome the fact
it is taking action but we have to look at the small print and discuss
whether this will affect rates for premium positions as it may drive prices
Viacom spokeswoman Jo Tomlin says: “The new system should hopefully
resolve this issue.”